Very quick Monday update to let everybody know what is going on…
First of all, we now have an e-mail address that can be used for correspondence related to the Downtown Memphis crime problem. That address is firstname.lastname@example.org. We have also bought an Internet domain which will be used to distribute information. I’ll give you the URL as soon as I can pull a quick website together.
Mike King and I met yesterday afternoon and developed a 5-point plan to address the crime issues downtown. The plan is designed to be positive, proactive, and to work with the approval and support of MPD.
A deputy chief at MPD and two of the top people at the South Main Substation are working to schedule a meeting time ASAP, today or possibly tomorrow. MPD has promised that our concerns will be addressed immediately, and so far they have been as kind and accomodating as they possibly can be. We look forward to a positive working relationship with the police.
I have to stress once again: All crimes and all suspicious activity, no matter how minor, must be reported. We can’t expect MPD to help us if they don’t know where the problems are occurring.
We are also working to schedule an interview with Channel 5 sometime today. Two of the crime victims have agreed to speak on camera, and they may interview me as well (although I’d be just as happy if I was left out – I’m a writer, not a speaker). Again, we plan to emphasize that we want to be positive, proactive, and that we plan to promote community involvement as part of the solution.
Saturday night I went to Raiford’s, and walked home about 2:45 in the morning. I walked up main,and when I reached Beale, I cut over to Second, believing Second to be a safer route home than the Main Street Mall. The intersection of Second and Peabody Place was complete anarchy. The cruisers had completely taken over. Cars were completely ignoring traffic signals, lurching through the intersection at will. Pedestrians who dared walk in front of the cruisers in an attempt to cross the street (even if they had the walk signal) were cursed out. Cars cut across 3 lanes of traffic, making split-second decisions to turn left out of the far right-hand lane, nearly causing several accidents. A group of four or five Caprice Classics and Buick Roadmasters with 24″ rims circled the block three times during my 5-minute walk home, in clear violation of the cruising ordinance.
I don’t think cruising in and of itself is the biggest crime problem downtown, but I do believe that would-be criminals see that violations of the cruising ordinance, the noise ordinance, traffic laws, etc. will be tolerated, and they see an environment in which more serious crimes will be tolerated as well.
We have bought a camcorder and are going to start videotaping some of the sh*t that goes down on the streets on weekend nights, to show to anyone who doesn’t believe there are problems down here, and also to the police and city officials. Apologies for the language but I’m upset and just don’t feel like finding a nicer way to say it.
I can’t believe I just apologized for using foul language in my own blog.
That’s all for now… looking forward to a day of productive meetings and interviews, and to getting the Residents for a Safer Downtown Memphis website set up, so that I can have my blog back for my own personal expression.
More details to come soon.